What TV news can learn from Jimmy Fallon

What TV news can learn from Jimmy Fallon

…or, how the internet picked the new Tonight Show host We cut cable years ago, with the idea that would make us watch less TV. Instead, I’ve become expert at finding the shows I like streaming online. It’s free and legal which is great, but the user experience ranges from meh to terrible. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was an exception. The show’s team was masterful at making it easy to watch and share their videos. The New York Times has written about Fallon’s internet success, his millions of followers on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, but noted: “it is unclear whether the videos provide a net gain by building awareness of shows, or a new loss, because viewers know they can see what they like online.” But I don’t think he’d be moving up to The Tonight Show without it. For example, I was a fan and never stayed up until 12:35 a.m. to watch. Fallon himself poked fun at his time slot in a recent sketch with the guys from Full House; Bob Saget as Danny Tanner told him no one was still awake at 12:37. Remarkably, even the show’s main landing page didn’t mention when it aired. Online, it didn’t matter. Lessons for news? We know that audiences are increasingly going online for news, and while TV is still the dominant news source (according to U.S. data from the the Pew Research Center) audiences have been shrinking. “TV” news—which I increasingly think of video storytelling, delivered however—is/will be looking to capture the eyeballs of cable-cutters like me. I’m not suggesting newsrooms set their sights on the kind of...